Paris, France

On November 13, Trophee Eric Bompard gets underway in Paris, France. The fourth event in the Senior Grand Prix Series, TEB will be another chance for this year’s top teams to earn the chance to qualify for the Grand Prix Final in Goyang City, Korea. 

The obvious favorites in Paris are the reigning world champions, Isabelle Delobel & Olivier Schoenfelder, who will be skating in front of a home crowd this week. Delobel & Schoenfelder are coming off of a narrow win over Americans Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto at Skate America in October. The French team won both the compulsory and original dance in Everett, but was surpassed in the free dance by the American champions. Their overall lead won them the Skate America title; however, Delobel & Schoenfelder will no doubt be looking to improve their free dance to Pink Floyd’s “The Great Gig in the Sky” and come out on top in that portion of the competition here in Paris. 

Britain’s Sinead Kerr & John Kerr, who won this year’s Finlandia Trophy and placed third at Skate America will go for their second Grand Prix podium finish. Their memorable original dance from last year to Scottish tunes is hard to surpass, but they do a good job expressing the swing dance theme with upbeat selections from “Boogie Bumper” and “Minnie the Moocher.” Always inventive, their free dance to “Ruled by Secrecy” by Muse contains unique lifts and passionate choreography. If the Kerrs want to medal here, they will need to skate three clean programs to keep in contention. 

Canadians Vanessa Crone & Paul Poirier have come to Paris fresh off of a second-place finish at Skate Canada. A mistake during the twizzles in their charming ragtime original dance put them in fifth after that portion of the competition. Crone & Poirier came back strong in their free dance to “Doce de Coco” by Jacob do Bandolim and finished second to Americans Meryl Davis & Charlie White. If Crone & Poirier can go mistake-free in all three portions of the competition, they will put some added pressure on Delobel & Schoenfelder and Kerr & Kerr.

Another French team, Pernelle Carron & Mathieu Jost, will be competing in their second Grand Prix event this fall. They finished fifth at Skate America and earlier this season won the Karl Schafer Memorial in Vienna. Their original dance is to the Louis Armstrong classic “Basin Street Blues.” The music of Muse, also used by the Kerrs, will be the backdrop of Carron & Jost’s free dance. Skating to “Butterflies and Hurricanes,” their free dance has the potential to be dramatic and passionate as the season goes on. 

Italians Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali will make their international season debut here in Paris. The duo won two bronze medals last year on the Grand Prix circuit and hopes to be in contention for a medal at TEB. They will be skating to a medley of tunes for the original dance, including “Follow the Fleet,” “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” and “Let Yourself Go.” For the free dance, they have chosen Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” 

A team looking to better their performances from earlier this season is U.S.A.’s Jennifer Wester & Daniil Barantsev, who are competing on the Senior Grand Prix circuit for the first time this year. The training partners of Faiella & Scali finished seventh at Skate Canada, where Jennifer was battling pneumonia. Their energetic original dance is skated to “Too Darn Hot” by Cole Porter. Wester & Barantsev take a darker turn in the free dance, skating to the powerful music from “Requiem for a Dream.” 

Rounding out the competition this week are Kristen Fraser & Igor Lukanin of Azerbaijan, Ekaterina Rubleva & Ivan Shefer of Russia, Joanna Budner & Jan Moscicki of Poland, and Zoe Blanc & Pierre-Loup Bouquet of France.